Social Networking for Information Professionals

Tag Archives: MySpace

What is important in terms of how we present and manage [individuals & organisations] identities online?

Mallan & Giardina (2009) highlight the fact that a Wikidentity (their term for an online persona) is a constructed representation of the user.  This seems to be true for both organisations and individuals as both show themselves in a way they would like to be perceived.  Even when an organisation tries to accurately represent itself the social networking site’s internal logic constrains how that representation is structured.  Features like comments on a Facebook wall or tagging of photographs (Raynes-Goldie, 2010) require regular management to ensure that the organisation’s identity is not subverted by other posters.

Deleting other poster’s contributions is a balancing act because comments and tags are positively valued as a mark of social engagement according to Mallan & Giardina (2009).  Although individuals in their study seemed prepared to tolerate negative comments, an organisation may be less able to allow critical comments to remain on its wall, particularly if they contribute to what they call a “communally negotiated truth”.

What can we share and what should we retain as private to the online world?

None of the readings sought to be definitive on what we should, or should not share, but noted the permanence of shared information.  Social networking sites are designed to encourage sharing and, according to Raynes-Goldie’s (2010) research subjects, the default settings for user accounts is to make information public.

In an environment where information is the currency, what to share becomes a cost-benefit analysis in which “privacy pragmatists” (Raynes-Goldie, 2010) trade some privacy for the perceived benefits of social engagement and participation.

Clearly, we can share anything – whether we should do so is a different question.  Sharing creates reputational risks (in the real and virtual worlds) for an organisation and Harris (2010) suggests that, to avoid online relationships that create risks to the librarian and the library, the library establishes its own its online identity. Harris assumes that, for a student, “fanning” the library is a satisfactory alternative to “friending” the librarian – an assumption that requires some testing.


Harris, C. (2010). Friend me?: School policy may address friending students online. School Library Journal, 1 April. Retrieved from

Mallan, K. & Giardina, N. (2009). Wikidentities: Young people collaborating on virtual identities in social network sites. First Monday, 14(16), 1 June. Retrieved from

Raynes-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook. First Monday, 15(1), 4 January. Retrieved from



Meredith Farkas, keynote speaker at a symposium sponsored by Librarians Association of the University of California, spoke about Building Academic Library 2.0.  Although focused at Academic Libraries the advice given can be used by other libraries.  Choosing just 5 was difficult as there were so many great tips.

Create Partnerships

Farkas spoke about creating partnerships with other libraries and how important it is to create partnerships within your own organisation.  She continues to promote library/faculty partnerships in her blog.

M Farkas (2012, November 29). The entrepreneurial library [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

 Know your users

Farkas, referring to work done at the University of Rochester, described an example of “knowing your users” in which staff discovered that students asked parents for help with assignments.  This led to arranging an orientation breakfast for parents to showcase what the library can offer.  A key message was the importance of not just knowing what patrons value in existing services, but what new services would be beneficial.  She described this as doing more than “doing a survey to ask what patrons value about your stuff – you need to ask what is of importance to them”.

Use 2.0 tools to highlight your c collection

Using flickr to showcase special collection material and RSS to push content out to users offers libraries an opportunity to market their service.  It is not enough, however, to simply use these 2.0 tools.  Libraries need a marketing strategy to communicate to patrons that the tools are in use, and help them get the most from 2.0 services.

 Build a learning culture

To reach a 2.0 environment in your organisation you need to build a learning culture with all staff, not just the professionals in your department.  While not all staff will require 2.0 tools as part of their work, an organisation-wide approach to promoting a learning culture can provide the foundation for building a 2.0 environment in those work teams where information technologies are part of core business.

Capitalize on your network

Social networking has made it easier to have a broader network base.  Prior to tools such as MySpace and Facebook opportunities to network came predominantly through conferences.  Farkas shared that for her Facebook was a Rolodex.  I presume this enables her to have her contacts available anytime anywhere 24/7.